Secretly Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake (Gluten Free)
Super moist vegan chocolate peanut butter cake made with layers of tender and rich secretly gluten free vegan chocolate cake between irresistible peanut butter buttercream frosting and decadent chocolate buttercream frosting. No one will know this cake is vegan, dairy free, AND gluten free!
Super moist vegan chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting
I thought I was in love once I tried my vegan chocolate cake recipe. But I was wrong.
This super fudgy, nutty and rich vegan chocolate peanut butter cake is true love. You’re just going to be obsessed.
Think ultra rich and moist vegan chocolate cake between inches of creamy and sweet creamy peanut butter frosting that’s naturally vegan and dairy free, all coated in a decadent (and very spoonable) vegan chocolate buttercream frosting.
What’s more, you’ll never be able to detect that the actual cake is also naturally oil free (yep, no butter nor vegetable oil in the actual cake!) and gluten free, yet super moist and decadent! It’s truly one of the best vegan cake recipes you’ll ever make and try.
Oh, and decorated with vegan peanut butter cups and vegan chocolate ganache, because if you’re already this far, you might as well go all out.
This decadent vegan chocolate peanut butter cake is the perfect cake for all occasions, including birthdays, weddings, graduations, holidays (especially Halloween!), parties, or really any time that you want to make a cake!
The reason being? This vegan peanut butter cake recipe is so freaking decadent that no one will know it’s vegan, whether or not they eat vegan on a regular basis!
Plus! You can easily make this chocolate cake recipe gluten free as well, and different layer sizes! This vegan chocolate peanut butter cake recipe is super easy to make, yet looks like an absolute showstopper.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake Ingredients:
What you’ll need for this vegan chocolate cake part:
- Oat flour: you can use gluten free or all purpose flour here. Just make sure that it’s sifted!
- Cocoa powder: While cacao powder is loaded with polyphenols (antioxidants that may reduce inflammation and improve blood flow), cocoa powder still has incredible benefits, and is actually much better for baking. If you want tall vegan cakes, please use all natural cocoa powder. The acidity found in natural cocoa powder (I purchase the one in the purple tin) will react with the baking soda, causing our cakes to rise.
- Coconut sugar: I like to use coconut sugar here for a few reasons; it keeps this cake refined sugar free (we’ll make a powdered coconut sugar for the powdered sugar) and it gives the cake a richer sweetness that’s almost like brown sugar. You can also use granulated sugar (make sure it’s organic so that it’s vegan!) if it’s easier.
- Leavening agents: just baking powder and bakingsoda here!
- Dairy-free milk (mixed with apple cider vinegar to create a vegan buttermilk): you can use any dairy-free milk, such as oat milk, coconut, or almond. The apple cider vinegar helps to curdle the milk to be much like a buttermilk (only vegan!). This will give the cake a bit of a lift and extra moisture. I’ve also experimented with this cake using Forager Project’s drinkable cashew milk yogurt; it acts much like a store bought vegan buttermilk!
- Applesauce: the vegan egg replacement (and added moisture!). You can also swap in dairy free yogurt.
- Vegan peanut butter frosting: This peanut butter buttercream is absolutely incredible! So creamy and lush. I like to use vegan unsalted butter, and use creamy peanut butter (unsalted). Make sure to just add a pinch of sea salt to help bring the flavor together! Then you’ll also use powdered sugar (or powdered coconut sugar) and a little dairy free milk. You can also add in a teaspoon vanilla extract here if you’d like.
- Vegan ganache & vegan peanut butter cups: While this cake tastes like a Reese’s cup, we’re not actually using any reese’s peanut butter cups in or on top of the cake! If you’d like to decorate the cake with peanut butter cups, you can use store bought (I like Unreal Chocolate best) or make your own.
How to make a decadent vegan chocolate peanut butter cake (overview):
For the full written instructions and ingredient measurements, see the bottom of this post in the recipe card. You can also hit the “jump to recipe” button at the top of this post! Here, we’ll go over a brief overview of the steps, along with providing visuals for a better understanding of the recipe.
Here’s how to make the most amazing vegan chocolate peanut butter cake:
- Make the batter:
Whisk together the dry ingredients, then set aside. You only need a large bowl and a whisk for the remainder of the batter. Add in the wet ingredients to the large bowl, and whisk everything together. Then whisk in the dry ingredients. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl to ensure that all of the batter is incorporated.
- Bake the cake layers:
Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 27-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. You can use 6″ round cake pans (which will need longer), 8″ cake pans, or even 9″ cake pans if you’d like. Another method is to try the “bounce back test,” in which you lightly poke the top of the cake. If it feels buoyant, then it’s ready to come out. Then allow the cakes to cool completely on a wire rack. This will take about 30 minutes to an hour.
- Assemble the cake:
After the vegan chocolate cake is baked, you’ll make the vegan peanut butter buttercream frosting. Next, assemble the cake, and finish with a topping of chopped peanut butter cups! I recommend doing a crumb coat on the cake to ensure you get a super smooth peanut butter frosting on the outside. I recommend using an offset spatula as well to get super smooth edges. That will also help with spreading the chocolate glaze (or ganache!)!
Making a (vegan) cake is supposed to be enjoyable, and eating it even more so.
Vegan Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting
For this peanut butter buttercream frosting, you’ll need:
- vegan butter
- creamy peanut butter
- powdered coconut sugar
- dairy-free milk
I actually love how the peanut butter creates this ultra fluffy and smooth buttercream. It might actually be my favorite vegan buttercream yet, and it’s soooo easy to eat just with a spoon (so you’ve been warned!).
You can make the peanut butter frosting either in a stand mixer or with a large bowl and hand mixer. Cream together the vegan butter and peanut butter together on medium speed at first, then increase to high speed. Next, add in the powdered sugar in increments, along with the dairy free milk.
Then you’re ready to frost!
Tips for making a vegan chocolate cake
- Don’t forget to sift the dry ingredients! This ensures that all ingredients are evenly distributed and will lead to a more even bake.
- Use room temperature wet ingredients: this is very important if you want a super moist and tender vegan cake while not getting that claggy texture.
- Don’t over mix the batter! Mix the batter until it’s just combined. This will prevent the gluten from activating and creating a gummy texture.
Tips for making vegan buttercream frosting
- Make sure the vegan butter is room temperature: much like regular buttercream frosting, to make a vegan buttercream frosting, the vegan butter needs to be entirely room temperature. You can use any vegan butter here: I like Miyoko’s or Forager Project, but it also works well with Earth Balance. I notice more of a soy taste to Earth Balance though.
- Use powdered sugar or powdered coconut sugar: to keep this cake entirely refined sugar free, I like to make a powdered coconut sugar, which I explain in the recipe card below. However, you can also use regular powdered sugar. Just make sure that it’s sifted!
- Only make the buttercream when you’re ready to frost! And on that note, make sure that the cakes are entirely cool before beginning. Otherwise, you’ll end up with your beautiful vegan chocolate cakelayers on the ground!
- Use the same bowl for the vegan peanut butter buttercream as you will with the vegan chocolate buttercream: this saves bowls, time, and gives the chocolate buttercream more of a peanut butter taste!
How to store leftover cake
If you have any leftovers of this vegan chocolate peanut butter cake (hey, it can happen from time to time!), I recommend storing the cake covered at room temperature for up to 2 days.
However, you can also slice the cake, cover it, and store it in an airtight container or cake container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
You’re just going to absolutely love vegan chocolate peanut butter cake recipe! It’s the perfect birthday cake for all eaters, vegan or gluten free or neither! If you make it, let me know down below in the comments section, as well as giving it a rating so that others can find it.
As always, I love to see your beautiful creations on Instagram and Pinterest, so be sure to tag me there!
Happy chocolate peanut butter cake baking (and eating!)
More healthy vegan cake recipes:
Want to save this recipe for later? Add it to your favorite recipe board on Pinterest!
If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and a rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ below. This helps others to find the recipes! As always, I absolutely love to see your beautiful creations on Instagram and Pinterest, so be sure to tag me there as well!Print
Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake
- Prep Time: 30
- Cook Time: 30
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 16 1x
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegan
Super moist vegan chocolate peanut butter cake made with layers of tender and rich chocolate cake between irresistible peanut butter buttercream frosting and decadent chocolate buttercream frosting. No one will know this cake is vegan nor dairy free!
Vegan Gluten Free Chocolate Cake:
The original recipe was based off of my vegan chocolate cake. You may use that as the base cake recipe instead, as demonstrated in the video.
- 1 1/2 cups (350 g) vegan buttermilk, room temperature, mixed before the batter
- 3 cups (360 g) oat flour, sifted
- 2/3 cup (65 g) cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp arrowroot powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 cups (375 g) unsweetened applesauce or dairy free yogurt, room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups (250 g) coconut sugar or organic granulated sugar
- 1 batch vegan peanut butter frosting
- 1 batch of vegan chocolate ganache
- 6–7 vegan peanut butter cups (you can also use this vegan almond butter cup recipe and swap in peanut butter)
- Please read through all instructions before beginning.
- Prep: preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and line three 6″ cake pans with cooking oil and parchment paper, and set aside. Measure out all ingredients. Mix together the dairy free milk and apple cider vinegar in a small bowl, and set aside to rest for 5 minutes. This will be called the vegan buttermilk going forward.
- Whisk together the dry ingredients: in a medium bowl, whisk together the oat flour, cocoa powder, arrowroot powder, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside
- Make the batter: in a large bowl, whisk together the vegan buttermilk, applesauce, and coconut sugar. Add in the dry ingredients, and whisk gently to combine the dry ingredients into the wet. Mix until just combined.
- Bake: pour the batter into the three prepared pans evenly, and place into the oven to bake for 37-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow the cakes to cool in their pans for 10 minutes. Then carefully transfer them to a cooling rack to fully cool before frosting. There should be no heat within the cakes at all prior to making the vegan buttercream.
- Made the vegan peanut butter buttercream: n a large bowl, cream together the vegan butter and peanut butter until creamy, about 3 minutes.
- Sift in the powdered sugar and continue beating until the powdered sugar is completely incorporated. You can use the dairy-free milk here to combine the powdered sugar until it’s creamy and fluffy.
- Assemble the cake: Place one cake layer onto a cake plate or stand, and add about 1/2 of the frosting to the top of the cake layer. Use a flat cake knife to smear the frosting until it meets the edges. Place the second layer on top and repeat. Place the third layer on top, and smooth any frosting that is poking out between the layers (almost like creating a crumb coating). Place the cake into the freezer to set for 10 minutes. After the initial crumb coat is set, apply the final layer of frosting.
- When ready to finish frosting the vegan chocolate peanut butter cake: Top with vegan ganache and pipe any remaining frosting on top. Chop the peanut butter cups into quarters and top the cake. Slice and serve!
- Storage: Store any leftovers at room temperature for up to 2 days covered, or in the fridge for up to a week. See note for preparing the cake ahead of time.
Gluten free: This chocolate peanut butter cake is already naturally gluten free. However, if you’d like to make a gluten free vegan chocolate cake using gluten free 1:1 baking flour, use my classic vegan chocolate cake linked at the top of the ingredients section, and swap in gluten free 1:1 baking flour.
To make powdered coconut sugar: you can use powdered sugar here or you can keep the cake entirely refined sugar free, and pulse the coconut sugar in a food processor. Pulse it for about 5 minutes to create a Paleo powdered sugar.
To make a three-layered 6″ cake: bake the cakes for 30-33 minutes, but check with a toothpick towards the end of the baking time.
To make a two-layered 9″ cake: bake the cakes for 32-37 minutes, but check with a toothpick towards the end of the baking time.
Prepare the cake ahead of time: if you want to prepare the cake ahead of time, make the cake up until you finish step 6. Once the cakes are cool, wrap them in plastic wrap and store the cake layers in the fridge for up to 1 day. Then when ready to assemble, make the frostings and continue assembling the cake.
- Serving Size: 1 slice
- Calories: 576
- Sugar: 67.4 g
- Sodium: 417 mg
- Fat: 21.4 g
- Saturated Fat: 4.6 g
- Carbohydrates: 95.4 g
- Fiber: 4.8 g
- Protein: 8.5 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: vegan chocolate peanut butter cake, chocolate peanut butter cake, chocolate peanut butter cake recipe, chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting
Made this cake today. I really wanted it to be delicious, but I used the measurements in the recipe and there didn’t seem to be enough liquid in the cake batter, so I had to add loads more milk until it had a cake batter consistency. I also found the apple sauce gave the batter a gluey consistency, I dont know if applesauce in the UK is different to US applesauce, but I ended up with a chocolate sponge with apple chunks in, in hindsight I should have blended the applesauce before adding it or used a different egg replacer.
Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry!! It definitely sounds like the applesauce is different in the UK- there should be NO chunks of apple whatsoever in the applesauce. I’m so sorry to hear this! It also sounds like there might have been too much flour- did you happen to scoop the flour or spoon and level? Too much flour will yield a gummy texture. I’m so sorry for this mishap!
it’s fine it’s not to bad
Hi! This cake looks amazing! I was just wondering what measurement of apple cider vinegar do you add to the dairy free milk to make the vegan buttermilk for the batter? Also you mention using the vegan buttermilk, but then in the recipe card it just says dairy free milk with 2tsp of lemon juice?
Hi Marie! I’m so sorry for that confusion! The lemon juice and apple cider vinegar are interchangeable- either works for creating the buttermilk! Some people prefer lemon, and you won’t taste it in the cake. When you mix the dairy free milk together the acid, then I just refer to it as the vegan buttermilk! But I will make that more clear in the recipe, I’m so sorry!
This recipe turned out great! I made this for my husband’s birthday because he wanted a chocolate peanut butter cake. We are vegan and gluten free, so I used King Arthur’s 1-1 gluten free flour. I had to add an extra 1/2 cup of almond milk since the cake batter was initially too thick and it only needed 25mins in the oven, I was glad I checked it. It got more compliments from other family members as well. The cake tasted moist and the subtle espresso flavor balanced the chocolate and the sweetness of the buttercream filling. I would make it again in a heartbeat!
Aw this is so wonderful to hear!! Thank you so much for the review, Amy! So glad everyone enjoyed 🙂
I’ll be sending this recipe to all the bakers I know so I can taste it! (I’m not so great at baking, lol).
I would like to make this for my son’s 3rd birthday. Obviously I don’t want him to have the espresso. Can it be omitted or can something else be used in it’s place?
Hi Katy! Yes, you can swap in an equal amount of dairy free milk. The espresso just makes the chocolate cake taste a bit richer, but can be omitted for kids!
Can I freeze the cake with the layers done and then finish it in a day or two later with the frosting? Trying to make so a crumb coat can be put on? I’m excited to try this for my sons birthday party…. He wants a “Reese’s” themed party, oh boy!
Aw that’s wonderful! So you can freeze this, but if you’re baking the cake one day and assembling the next, I would recommend leaving the cake at room temperature, but covering it tightly in plastic wrap! That will help it stay the freshest and keep moist! I hope you all love it!
I made it!!! Why have I never used peanut butter icing before? It’s all so delicious. I don’t have Instagram so I can’t post my picture, but it turned out wonderful for my 11 to birthday! Thank you!
Omgsh this is wonderful!! So happy you enjoyed!
Do you happen to have this recipe in grams/ml?❤️
Yes! It’s just been updated 🙂
If I’m wanting to make this with all purpose flour do I need to change the amount or is it the same? Looks so yummy!
Hi Jenney! This will work with all purpose flour, but for the best results, I recommend using my classic vegan chocolate cake if you’re using AP flour: https://thebananadiaries.com/best-vegan-chocolate-cake-ever/
So excited to make this! Do you recommend anything else besides baking powder? I only have baking soda at the moment. Thanks so much!
Hi Lindsey! I really do recommend baking powder HOWEVER you can make a faux baking powder by using an extra teaspoon of baking soda, and adding 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar to it. Don’t mix this until the rest of the batter has been made. Then as soon as the apple cider vinegar reacts with the baking soda, add it into your batter, mix, and pour your batter into the cake pans to bake!
I made this for my daughter’s birthday. It was so moist and delicious. You would never know it was vegan. We are already looking for our next cake to make.
Oh I’m so happy to hear it!! Happy belated birthday to your daughter 🙂 Thank you so much for such a wonderful review!! Enjoy!!
Can i make this sugar free as well? I can’t wait to try this recipe
Hi Amanda! This cake can’t be made sugar free- I haven’t tested it with a zero sugar granulated sweetener, but my limited baking with zero sugar granulated sweeteners hasn’t yielded great results. I’m sorry!